Mass sleep out raises £22k for homeless charity

The Stade Open Space was transformed into Cardboard City last Friday (September 25) as 150 people spent the night sleeping rough to raise funds for the Seaview Project.

The Big Sleep, organised by the St Leonards-based homeless charity, was held to raise money to help fund the important work carried out by Seaview.

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071309001

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071309001

The charity hoped the event would bring in £10,000, but generous supporters managed to smash that target.

Sue Burgess, project manager at Seaview, said: “We have raised in the region of £22,000, which has far exceeded our expectations.

“From our perspective, it was a phenomenal event.”

The event kicked off with some live music from Mighty Sounds and King Size Slim, who returned later in the evening for a special acoustic set, especially for the sleepers gathered around the brazier.

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071448001

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071448001

Then as the temperature dropped, participants bedded down in their boxes and tried to get some sleep.

Sue said: “There was a fantastic feeling of community spirit.

“We were really pleased with how the night went and we were really lucky with the weather.

“It all seemed to go quite smoothly.”

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071404001

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071404001

The event received excellent feedback from those who took part - although some said they wanted the weather to be harsher to give them a more authentic experience of homelessness.

Sue said she hoped the Big Sleep would become an annual event.

She added: “I would like to thank everyone who took part, everyone who donated and sponsored and staff and volunteers who helped on the night.

“I would also like to thank Seaview’s Awareness Action Group who have been working for the last six months or so to get this event organised.”

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071415001

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071415001

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071437001

Big Sleep, Hastings. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-150928-071437001